Throughout our careers as consultants, we’ve coached many leaders who’ve struggled to build followership with either bosses, direct reports, or peers who don’t have a high level of respect for their contributions to the organization as a leader. Some of the concerns or complaints regarding these leaders have included:
- Not appearing to work as hard or add as much value as other members of the team
- Lacking responsiveness or timeliness in their communication
- Not appearing to care about their appearance
- Being rude or displaying a lack of respect for others
- Not showing a genuine concern for the success of direct reports or peers
- Only focusing on their area of influence
On the other hand, we have also had the opportunity to coach some highly successful leaders that are looking to take their leadership to the next level. Through all our work, we have learned that successful leaders all have a tendency to master some key areas of leadership. We have identified the following 10 keys of successful leaders that will help you gain respect, inspire others to follow you as well as take your leadership to an even higher level.
- Integrity: This point is simple. If you lack integrity, you will not be trusted. People don’t follow leaders they don’t trust.
- Vision: Role model leaders have a positive vision and attitude about life. People are inspired by being in the presence of leaders who believe that they, with the support of their team, have the ability to make tomorrow even better.
- Passion: Great leaders deeply believe in what they’re doing and that their efforts will make a positive difference in the lives of others. What may be even more important about having strong vision and passion, is that it gives leaders the energy to overcome adversity and obstacles.
Humility: Great leaders truly believe they are blessed to be able to do what they do and are grateful for the people they live and work with. When you’re a humble leader, it’s much easier to do the following:
- Thank people for their contributions
- Admit when you’re wrong
- Be respectful – regardless of your position in the company
- Learning: A lot of the research states that role models are intelligent. Intelligence helps but I’ve worked with too many brilliant people who are terrible role models and struggle at leadership. We have found great role models to be active learners who can quickly put to use what they have learned. We are fond of saying that great leaders are great learners.
- Decision Making: As a leader, the decisions you make not only impact you, but the lives of others as well. Mistakes and bad decisions are unavoidable facts of life, not just leadership. A leader’s ability to practice sound decision-making strategies, respond appropriately and not avoiding tough decisions set leaders apart. Sound decisions are a hallmark of great leadership.
- Confidence: When you have vision, passion, integrity, humility, and pride, it’s easy to be confident about who you are and your role as a leader.
- Presence: When you gain confidence in your own leadership, have a positive presence follow. You have to take pride in all that you do. Your personal presence, and work environment, tells others you have pride in who you are, your team and your organization – and that is contagious.
- Follow-Through: Do what you say you are going to do. Doing this consistently will build high levels in trust for those that follow you and work with you.
- Win: Role models develop good habits that allow them to consistently produce the desired results and achieve the stated goals.
Although this list may seem daunting, it’s important to note that every leader slips at some time. When they do slip, they are humble about it, admit their mistakes, and get re-focused on living the characteristics of a great role model.